BOSTON, September 21, 2016 — Only two weeks into the 2016 NFL season, and it is already becoming a war of attrition. Former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs use to say that it is not the best team that wins the Super Bowl, but the best healthiest teams. Some teams have survived massive amounts of injuries to win it all, such as the 2010 Green Bay Packers. However, they still had Aaron Rodgers. The Patriots and Browns are down to their third string quarterbacks, although New England gets relief in two more weeks. The Vikings have lost Adrian Peterson for several months with a torn meniscus after losing Teddy Bridgewater in the preseason for the year.
There is no crying in football, and one of Bill Belichick’s famous refrains is “next man up.” With Week 2 in the books, here is the NFL 2016 Week 3 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, September 22, 2016, 8:30 p.m.
Houston Texans (-1) at New England Patriots — Does it really matter who quarterbacks the Patriots? Who in their right mind would go against Bill Belichick at home, especially after what New England did in the opener on the road? Oddsmakers must have eaten some bad clam chowder before setting this spread. Upset special, Patriots win outright.
Sunday, September 25, 1:00 p.m.
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) — Denver’s defense is every bit as good as the squad that won it all. Michelin Man Wade Phillips brings the pressure. However, Cincinnati at home with their solid defense should be able to get the job done. Trust Red Rifle Andy Dalton at home over Trevor Siemian.
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans (-1.5) — The Raiders have a very good offense and the league’s worst defense. Tennessee does not have the offensive firepower to keep up, despite Marcus Mariota leading an ugly win last week. Derek Carr can get it done if his defense gives him an ounce of help. Upset special, Raiders win outright.
Arizona Cardinals (-4.5) at Buffalo Bills — Arizona has the league’s best offense, and Rex Ryan has been unable to transfer his vaunted defensive mind onto the Buffalo Players. The Bills are a mess, having just fired their offensive coordinator. Barring an early Canadian blizzard, the only avalanche will be Bruce Arians piling on the points. Cardinals cover.
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars (Pick ‘em) — Baltimore overcame a 20-point road deficit last week while Jacksonville got demolished. In a battle of below-average teams, Give the Jaguars won last chance at home. Blake Bortles will save Gus Bradley’s job for a few more weeks. Jaguars win.
Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins (-9.5) — The browns were awful with their starting quarterback, improved when their backup was healthy, and dead with their third stringer. Miami is uninspiring, especially on offense. Against anyone but Cleveland the point spread would be a joke. Dolphins win but fail to cover.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-4.5) — Washington has reverted to dumpster fire form while the Giants have won consecutive ugly games with defense and special teams. An angry Kirk Cousins very well could win this game, and the Giants are not blowing anyone out. Giants win but fail to cover.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-7.5) — The Lions blew double-digit leads in both games, including a fourth quarter collapse last week. Now they face an angry Packers team coming off a brutal road loss at their most hated rival. While Matthew Stafford will not match Aaron Rodgers score for score, he might do enough to prevent a blowout. Packers win but fail to cover.
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers (-7) — It’s one thing to lose your quarterback. To lose your running back, the best player on your team, is another. Mike Zimmer has a solid defense, but Carolina found its groove last week at home. They will not put up another 46 points, but Cam Newton will do enough to get the win since Minnesota has no offense. Panthers win but fail to cover.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-9.5) — The Legion of Boom is as good as ever but the Seahawks have no offense. Russell Wilson is playing with a bum ankle. The 49ers typically get blasted at Seattle, but the spread is too high for a team with one touchdown in two games. Seahawks win but fail to cover.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-5) — The Rams have a stout Jeff Fisher defense but no touchdowns in two games. The Buccaneers looked bad last week but Jameis Winston is maturing rapidly. Tampa Bay will rebound unless Todd Gurley stops struggling. Buccaneers win but fail to cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) at Philadelphia Eagles — The Eagles are 2-0 and Carson Went has looked very impressive. however, Chicago and Cleveland are the two worst teams in the league. A healthy Pittsburgh team has far too much firepower for Philadelphia. Steelers cover.
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (-3) — These teams both have good defenses and a quarterback not asked to be the hero. Ryan Fitzpatrick is better than Alex Smith, but give Kansas City the edge in the fourth quarter when Walrus Lite Andy Reid takes the shackles off Smith. Chiefs cover.
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts (-3) — Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck are both slinging the ball, but the Colts are a surprising 0-2 because of their defense. Nevertheless, at home Luck can win a shootout over Rivers. No lead is safe for San Diego. Colts cover.
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys (-7) — Dak Prescott is for real. Jay Cutler is out injured, but the Bears lack talent almost everywhere. The spread is high given that the Cowboys played two very close games, but the Bears really are who we thought they were. Cowboys cover.
Monday, September 26, 8:30 p.m.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-3) — This could turn into a pinball machine that reads tilt. In an aerial assault between Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, give Brees the edge at home. Even though both teams play in domes, the crowd will be fired up to help save the season for the winless Saints. Saints cover.